A Root Grows in Winona


| November/December 1982



4 HP Engine

4735 W. 5th Winona, Minnesota 55987

There is life in those 'Old Roots' thanks to the efforts of Edward Chick. The Winona, Minnesota native has once again brought to life a new half-scale model. Through his multi-talented dedication to a dream, a new -scale Root & V and ervoort upright is now a reality. The engine is scaled from a 4 HP upright. The engine came into Ed's possession through a trade. I remember the day when he picked the engine up. It was a very cold Good Friday. I was involved in the trade because my father needed some help with his heavy hobby.

The original Root was complete except for the cooling tank and screen, skids and cart. The engine (all 1485 lbs. of it) was loaded into our pickup with the aid of a front-end loader. The job of getting the Root off the truck was not as easy as getting it on the truck. The engine had to be disassembled. When the head was removed, we found out why there was no paint to be found on the engine. At one time the engine had been stored for a long period of time in a creek bed. On the top of the piston there were 6 inches of mud, and the remains of a small minnow, and a few snails to keep the valves company. Over the years the badly necked valves, and the pitted seats, and guides had formed quite an attachment for one another. The valves and guides had to be replaced. The seats were reground, and fitted with the valves from a 327 Chevy. At one time the spring water was allowed to freeze in the cooling jacket and head causing them to become slightly bulged. When the head and jacket were welded, attention was turned to the bore. The interior of the cylinder above where the piston had stopped moving so long ago was very pitted. The cylinder was honed and the rings freed, and seemed to be in pretty good shape. Disassembly continued and work increased. It seemed as if every part on the engine needed work. All of the pins and bushings on the Root were replaced; the crankshaft was metalized and turned. The rod had a twist which meant that the main bearings had to be replaced.

All of the exterior parts were badly rusted and sorely in need of a friend. The igniter was one solid lump which took well over a week to rework (most of the time spent in getting it apart). The thought of those first smoke rings just keeps a person going!

While the Root was apart and covering much of the shop, Ed started the model. The first step in building any model begins with the measurement and drawing of each engine piece. The Root & V and ervoort that was being built was to be an exact copy of the engine that R & V  built for the Deere & Webber Company of Minneapolis. The engine was sold under the name of Reindeer Engines; these facts were made known to us by the beautifully preserved brass nameplate mounted on the cylinder. Nameplates always help greatly in the restoration of any engine, and the Root was no exception.

The fuel tank was cast into the sub-base, cast iron on all sides and therefore sound. The fuel pump was made of brass; however, the two check balls that made the green lump a fuel pump had long since disappeared. The carb on the Root was broken from freezing, and when the needle valve was turned it broke off also. A person can really get quite good at welding cast iron after awhile. When all is said and done, that first pop is worth all of the work.